Interview By: Dan Portnoy
Much like a fine wine, actress Nia Long only gets better with age. It’s been a while since this talented drop dead gorgeous Hollywood player landed her breakout role in John Singleton’s acclaimed 1991 film Boyz n the Hood. Since then Nia has worked in a list of films both mainstream and independent and has landed a number of television roles. Those of you who have been in touch with the media in the past 15 years would be hard pressed not to recognize this all-around star. And for those of you who don’t already know, you can catch Nia Long in the new film Big Momma’s House 2 which laughs its way into theaters this week. Lucky for me, I got the chance to sit down and chat with Nia face to face before the film’s big release (jealous?).
In the second installment of Big Mamma, federal agent Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence) slips into the fat suit once again and becomes none other than the exuberant, larger than life Big Mamma. Switching back and forth between personalities can get quite difficult as agent Turner realizes once again in Big Mamma’s House 2. Fortunately Nia Long returns as Sherry Pierce, the love interest of agent Turner who keeps him in check and provides the film with some of its more memorable situations. This time around Big Mamma must infiltrate the home of a murder suspect posing as an experienced nanny. But before this potential national security disaster can be averted Big Mamma must uncover the truth, only getting there may prove to be more difficult than he anticipated.
It was the year 2000 when the original Big Mamma’s House hit theaters and only now, six years later do audiences get their sequel. What’s the deal? “It’s all timing too. Like what really worked what didn’t work. What
One of the things that drew Nia to the script was its ability to capture a wide audience. There was no one demographic that the film was directed towards. “I just think the whole subject matter of being a nanny is a great way to set up the story. There is so much good humor in the project and I’m really hoping we capture the audience from the first one and capture the kids that were too young to watch the first one. But it’s really a family film.” With situations and laughs for everybody Big Mamma’s House 2 hits home with an onslaught of comedy.
This wasn’t the most challenging of film shoots for Nia. As a mother, her time for work is somewhat limited, so the directors worked fast to get her in and out. “I worked on the film for about eight, nine days; it was a quick shoot for me. But I really enjoyed it; I really liked the storylineâ€¦” It’s not about the time, it’s about the time you had and Nia enjoyed the process even if it was short. She was also happy to rejoin with another Big Mamma veteran, Martin Lawrence. But the way
“People may not believe this but your memory is never the same after you have a child.” An interesting fact, one that happily I will never have to verify. Although I’m sure age will catch up with me sooner or later. But for Nia, working on a film means more flexibility and more leniencies with the dialogue. It was a truth that she soon learned when she made the jump to the television series Third Watch. “Being on a series you’ve got to know your lines quick, but being in a film the pace is slower so you don’t have the pressure.” But no matter how bad Nia’s memory gets, as an actress watching herself on screen, she has the uncanny ability to remember how she felt at any given time within her films. It’s true. “I could watch a film like Boyz in the Hood and remember exactly how I was feeling at that moment.” And that was fifteen years ago! Think of how much has happened since then. But that’s Nia Long, full of surprises.
Things are going well for Nia, as a loving mother with a good career there’s not much more you could ask for. When Big Mamma’s House 2 rolls into the theaters she will have yet another notch on her seemingly endless belt. What’s next for Nia? Only time will tell, but knowing her, it could be anything.